A local school is using our church premises for their Carols Services and Nativity plays. This morning I was showing our premises to a couple of members of staff from the school and trying to sort out some of the details.
As we looked at the church I tried to see things through the eyes of the staff members rather than through my familiar eyes. What is unfamiliar? What is ‘sacrosanct’? What can we move? What can be done to help? How can we adapt what we do to accommodate the school?
Those questions, relating to our premises, can also be helpfully applied to our lives as followers of Jesus. What aspects of following Jesus are unfamiliar to many people and need to be explained? What aspects of following Jesus are non-negotiable, and what can be changed? What can I do to help make Jesus more accessible to those around me? How can I adapt my practices and habits to serve those around me?
The non-negotiables are often the sticking points for us as churches and as individuals because we sometimes have different views on what those should be. This is often where we end up disagreeing over doctrine. I reckon that for God the non-negotiables are far fewer than we have. I have a sneaking suspicion that ‘faith in Jesus’ might be the absolute essential, if the experience of the thief on the cross is anything to go by and if we listen hard to the words of Jesus. The rest flows from that starting point.
Can it be as simple as that? Dare we allow it to be as simple as that?